Women in Finance: Changing the Face of Financial Services – Tracy Caliendo

To highlight the important work and impressive achievements of women in financial services, the STA Women in Finance Committee is pleased to highlight women from all areas of the industry and aim to inspire the next generation of women in finance.

For this edition, we spoke with Tracy Caliendo, Managing Director and Head of Global Commission Management and Hedge Fund Services at Bank of America. Tracy provides a multi-channel program including high touch, electronic, options, and portfolio trading to optimize commission spend and best execution. In addition, Tracy is responsible for increasing the hedge fund market share in the Equities Division through relationship management, client branded events, and sales strategy. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, Caliendo was co-head of Americas Electronic Trading at Goldman Sachs. She joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 as an analyst, working in Prime Brokerage where she was responsible for managing hedge fund account relationships. In 2000, Caliendo joined the Electronic Trading Group, which focused on the development of the firm’s e-commerce business model. Caliendo was named managing director in 2009. Tracy and her husband have 5 children and live in New York City.

– Inessa Ruffman, JonesTrading & STA WIF Chair

Tracy Caliendo
Managing Director, Head of Global Commission Management and Hedge Fund Services
Bank of America

Why did you choose a career in the financial services industry? How did you get started?

My first job out of college was at Goldman Sachs in prime brokerage in 1997. I then joined Electronic Trading in 2000 – a time when very few women were on the trading floor. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in the global markets business for so long, but I chose this path because the ability to be entrepreneurial, develop sales strategies and provide creative solutions has always captivated me as a professional and individual!

My current job at Bank of America acts as a utility for the trading floor – my team now does everything except trading. We get to work with colleagues across different lines at the bank to drive our market share. It forces me to think outside the box – no day ever looks the same, and I’m always trying to find ways to add value to clients. This is by far the most fulfilling role I have ever had in my career; it allows me to use my brain in line with where my heart is at – as an entrepreneur. The best part is I have a healthy work-life balance between a big career, a healthy marriage and raising 5 children.

How has the industry changed in the time that you’ve been part of it?

I think diversity, equity, and inclusion has moved to the forefront of the management governance scorecard. From my seat, I definitely don’t see Wall Street as male-dominated anymore. I work at a bank where 32% of the management teams are women, and the total global workforce is 50% women. We have one of the most diverse boards in terms of women and minorities, and I’m seeing more and more women in frontline leadership roles like mine. However, I still think fewer women and minorities are at the very top across the private and public sectors. As a society, we still have more work to do to bring more gender and racial equality and make access to knowledge, experience, and capital much easier.

What are you most proud of in your career and why?

I think great leaders are those that are not afraid to show their vulnerability. When a leader is comfortable in their own skin and can openly share stories of success and failures equally, it makes them so much more relatable and approachable. I have learned from many great leaders by hearing about their experiences, both good and bad. I am determined to pay it forward and share with others the lessons I learned from my own failures. When I fail, I try not to dwell in my sorrows and drown in my embarrassment for too long, as when I eventually bring myself to rise again, I tend to gain a little more wisdom, a little more confidence, and a lot more humility almost every time.

What are your hopes for the future of the industry?

Bank of America has built on its work to achieve greater diversity in the workplace, and one area where diversity is a key priority is Global Markets. I’ve heard misconceptions about who can be a trader or a salesperson, leading to the underrepresentation of certain groups in the industry. I’ve also seen the benefits of being a woman on the trading floor – bringing a unique set of abilities to the table has helped me collaborate and build consensus with my teams. However, diversity is not simply about increasing the number of women, but rather bringing diversity of thought and supporting that with an inclusive culture where we are able to challenge one another. Studies have proven that with greater diversity, your performance is better as a team. The industry as a whole is thinking proactively about how to move the needle, because it just makes business sense!

Do you have any words of wisdom for the next generation of women in finance?

Forging a path for the next generation is key. I don’t want being a woman to be an assumed advantage because that can actually become a burden in the long run for gender equality progress. We need to offer more systematic access for female workers to access capital, know-how, and the necessary networks to enhance their probability of success. Mentorship and sponsorship are talked about a lot, but they really are the most effective ways for emerging leaders to be embraced and supported. Those fortunate enough to be at the front of the line have an obligation to pave the road for those behind them.

Tell us more about how your entrepreneurial spirit has inspired you throughout your personal and professional journey.

Aside from applying my drive and creative spirit to my job at Bank of America, I’ve also been lucky enough to apply it to my family life. My husband and I have a bit of a unique story – we welcomed 4 babies in 13 months and now have an incredible family of 7! A few years back, I decided to share our story with the world by creating a family social media profile called Almost Triplets NYC, and we’ve been along for the ride ever since. Being a working mother, especially on Wall Street, has taught me the importance of making time for each of my children (and myself!), and to enjoy that time as much as possible. Since creating the profiles, my family and I have been fortunate enough to receive support and kind words from people all over the world (we have over 450k followers now!), which is more than we could’ve ever imagined. Family is such a huge part of our lives, and sharing our story has helped me balance work with family in a fun and unique way.